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Working at Heights: A CSCS Health and Safety Test Case Study

Working at Height

Health and safety for working at heights is covered in the Working at Heights CSCS Test. All UK site workers need to pass a CSCS test in order to achieve the CSCS card commensurate with their job and skill level. The test assesses the knowledge of the candidate in general UK building site safety and specific regulations, techniques and requirements for working in any branch of the industry where heights are involved.

Typical height involved trades include telephone and satellite engineer; roofing and tiling; and scaffolding.


The Five Steps to Working at Heights for the CSCS Health, Safety & Environment Test

In order to become CSCS Test qualified for working at heights candidates will need to be aware of the five basic areas of height safety. Assessment is first, in common with all health and safety regulation – before the work is undertaken an accurate assessment of its risks and their solutions needs to be undertaken. The four major strands of height working complete the picture: roof work; ladders; fragile surfaces; and scaffolds.

Working at heights is the biggest cause of injury and death in the UK construction industry, with HSE figures suggesting that more than 60% of all construction related deaths occur as the result of a fall. Achievement of a CSCS Test qualification in working at heights is essential for safe practice of all five steps.


Working on Roofs

The CSCS Test is designed to give all project owners and contractors a clear idea of an individual site worker’s competence in the health and safety issues surrounding his or her trade. Working on roofs is one of the most dangerous of all site activities, with one in five of all site deaths occurring as a result of a fall from or through a roof. Typical areas of coverage in roofing health and safety include fragile roofs; skylights and hidden windows; and the identification and use of safe access.

All roofing surfaces should be treated as fragile until a competent person has deemed them otherwise. Skylights should be covered with clearly marked covers or separated from the worker by a barrier.


Tower Scaffolds and the CSCS Test

The tower scaffold is one of the most common building structures used to ensure safety when working at heights. The Health, Safety & Environment Test for Working at Heights is essential for all scaffold operatives, whose work, while designed to provide a safe platform for others to work at height, can be extremely dangerous in its own right. The Test will assess the health and safety knowledge of individuals whose work involves designing and erecting tower scaffolds and is intended to acknowledge competence in the four major areas of scaffolding: erection and dismantling; stability; precaution and inspection; and use and moving.

Injurious and fatal incidents that result from the improper use of tower scaffolding are usually caused by dangerous erecting or taking down; incorrectly finished scaffolding (i.e. missing guardrails and toe boards); or misuse in operation.

For more information on the Health, Safety & Environment Test for Working at Heights please contact Construction Support Line.


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